Are You Living in Your Designated Spot?

I watch the afternoon sun slant through the French doors, dustmotes floating weightless in the rays of diminishing light. Another scene springs to mind – the empty living room the day I left, swept and clean, ready for a new family to fill it with their laughter or dinner parties or hymns at dusk.

A thought rises. How did I ever end up here? 

I had closed the door that last day and stood with my back to it for a minute, tears springing up, trying to say goodbye to a dream. “You ready, Cathee?” Bob called from the driveway. Not really, I thought. And yet I knew I was.  He had given me a word. 

How do you wrench your heart free when it feels Gorilla-glued to a place?

Following the Call

Have you ever wondered if where you live is the right place? If maybe you missed God, or never asked his opinion? How different would things be for you if you had the full assurance that you are in your designated spot? Right where you’re supposed to be?

You might be encouraged to know that God has appointed a specific place for you and that you are given a measure of authority in the place. On the other hand, if you’re in the wrong place – well, you know what they say about that! *smile*

Paul the apostle gives insight to this discussion in the book of Acts where we find a statement of interest:

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. Acts 17:26 NIV

Does it really say God chose both the time into which we would be born and the “exact place” in which we should live? Doing a bit of background work on these phrases, I discovered you might translate that verse like this and be completely accurate:

God pre-defined  – marked out the boundaries beforehand – of an opportune or seasonable time in which we should live and an exact place that he has ordained for us. 

Our Appointment

As Bob and I began our journey of a thousand miles from one of the most affluent cities in the USA to a very small town two hours northeast of Naples that has three traffic lights in total, we at first thought our move was just a no-brainer.

A house with an unmanageable mortgage debt in hard times vs. a house on a lake with no mortgage.  Not much to think about there. However, we struggled with it. We didn’t know anyone in Lake Placid and we’d been in Naples 30 years. We had a measure of influence for God’s kingdom, a certain spiritual authority in that city. Was he really asking us to walk away from that? What would we do in such a tiny place where we knew no one?

In addition, we had never – in all our married life – moved somewhere without feeling God was calling us to that place. Finances seemed to dictate our destination but another rule we’ve tried to follow is not to be led by the dollar, but by the Lord. With these personal convictions it seemed a dilemma to us. We needed to hear from God.

So we continued to pray. It’s a glorious thing to look back over your life and realize that while it often seemed you were feeling your way through a black cave, it turns out you were being led all along. 

God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being… Acts 17:27, 28 NIV

The word “reach out” in the NIV translation is a word that literally means “feel after” him. Groping, searching – not sure where he is but trying to follow hard after him anyway. And then those lovely words of assurance that “he is not far from each of us.” It’s in him that we live – he is our dwelling place, our breath, the beat of our heart.

I chuckle to discover that “in him we live and move…” means just what it says. We move from one place to another.

This is how it went down. Two months before we were to leave, a young couple we’ve known since high school announced they were starting a new work in Naples. Josh had come up in the youth group, graduated to a position of youth pastor and then to associate pastor. Now he felt led to start his own church.

I wanted to support them by attending on their first Sunday. Bob was working that day so I went alone. We met at a local Starbucks, about 10 of us – everyone sipping their lattes, eating scones and settling into the comfy chairs. Josh set his laptop on a side table and pulled up a scripture.

“Let’s go somewhere else, to the small towns that are nearby. I have to spread the good news in them also. This is why I have come.” Mark 1:38 GW.

I stared at the verse for a long time. As a writer, there’s hardly a Bible translation I haven’t used, but the GW translation threw me. What’s GW stand for? Gee Whiz? I had no idea.

I opened my NKJV and realized that if I was reading that rendering of the verse it would not have impacted me, but this God’s Word translation was rocking my world. Let’s go somewhere else? To a small town?  God had my attention now.

I can’t tell you, for the life of me, what Josh preached on that morning. I was stunned by that one verse, that word weaseling its way into my chest, telling me that I had to spread the good news in the small town because they needed Jesus too.

I never questioned why we were moving after that. It was settled by that one word.

Finding your Metron

But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 2 Cor. 10:13 NAS

Metron is a Greek word meaning – a measure, a meter; a portion measured off. A metron is the measure of authority given to each of us within the Kingdom. It is the sphere of influence in which God has placed us.

When we dwell in the place that God has appointed we are able to carry out his purpose for us to the fullest. The prayer of Jabez was nothing more than one man asking God to increase his measure of effectiveness and authority in the place where he lived. This is where we stand in the gap, pray, and do warfare. This is our domain of authority and we are able to do it based on the power of God as we’ve allowed it to work in us. If we have learned how to pray effectively, we have seen our metron increase over the years. If we have neglected the spiritual disciplines, our ability to intercede over the portion the Lord gives us has decreased. I do not believe God takes away our metron, but our effectiveness can be increased or decreased based on our obedience, our actions.

Have you ever asked God if you are where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing? If your life feels empty or without purpose, maybe this is a good place to start.

“He that lives in the secret spot of the Most High will lodge under the shadow                     of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 (transliteration)

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Comments

  1. Grace Alene Heatwole

    … what a testimony of “shalom” … thank you, Cathee!!!

  2. Thanks, Grace. When we live shalom we’re never satisfied anywhere else, are we?

  3. Sure fits the application of my life verse in Gen. 24:27, “…I being in the way, the Lord led me…”, huh Cat. Love to you and my BB buddy.

  4. THank you for this Tiff. IWe went through a very similar move and all our kids ended up moving to San Diego. I was so entrenched in my neighborhood, church and life in Agoura but the Lord wanted me gone. My best friend’s son was dying and many other things happening and I couldn’t understand why the Lord was wanting me to leave my nest. Brought back many wonderful memories and struggles.
    love you,
    Tiff

    • Loved hearing your story. Many things about God are a puzzle, but the comfort we hold on to is that we know he is good! Thanks for sharing.

  5. You seem to always hit a high note with me. Since you and I both moved from Naples at the same time, I feel I am on this journey with you. I often ask the Lord, “Why did we end up here? Why did we move at the height of my career into a completely open space? Nothing seemed logical even though we were in constant prayer. We just knew we had to leave Naples. We are discovering that open space is not empty space. Emanuel … God with us….God IS with us. Thanks for the affirmation that we are right where we are suppose to be, right with God, remaining open to the space our Lord wants us to fill.

  6. I found your site through a link you placed on a friends facebook page. It was timely, and just what I needed today.
    My daughter and I moved from Naples a few months ago, to central Florida. She has not found a job, in spite of 30 applications, and great creditials and references. She is beginning to think that we made a mistake coming here. I have a wonderful job, and feel God gave it to me. It’s the first job I’ve had in a long time where I feel appreciated and valued.
    Please pray that she will find peace, and if God has a job in his plan for her that he open the doors. I have complete trust in God, and we are both Christians. We miss our church, and have not settled on one here yet.
    We attended New Hope in Naples, and I have many friends I left behind there.
    Thank you for this site, and for your insights into God’s grace and mercy.
    God Bless you!

    • Donna

      Please contact me at my email address: ca********@gm***.com. Thank you for sharing your story. I went to New Hope for years and worked on staff there for almost five years. We will know many of the same people. I’d like to know where you are in Central Florida and perhaps I can help your daughter. I will pray for you and your daughter. This is just a test so hang in there and keep up your wonderful sense of gratitude.

      Blessings,
      Cathee

      • Yes I am perplexed about this situation. I have been feeling that this is not were I am supposed to be. Yes mom I do believe you are supposed to be here, but I don’t think I am… I know God knows we love each other and have lived together for many years and we wouldn’t have moved apart on our own accord. Gods knows you would have NEVER moved here without my influence. However I feel that I need to move on with my life and it’s not here. This hurts me so much b/c I love you so much! We both believe that if you are where you are supposed to be God will bless you and help you and show you that this is where he wants you to be. It’s been 3months and nothing good only multiple bad things have happened to me. Not just the job situation. Anyway this is getting long. While I am not sleeping again… I pray for answers and peace. Thank you Cathee for sharing your story. I liked it. Love to all and goodnight.

        • Stephanie

          Thanks for sharing you heart so openly. You must follow your own call and your mother must follow hers. The path for each of you will be different. May the Lord give you courage to move in the direction of His voice and to say No to everything else. This is the path of life for every believer. I will be praying for you.

          Cathee

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